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  1. Network of Biological Systematics - Austria (NOBIS): Linking extinct and extant taxa – Integrative approaches to systematics.

Convener: Omri Bronstein (


Abstracts as pdf


Rapid technological advance in sequencing technologies had a tremendous impact on systematics in many organism groups and resulted in considerable progress in our understanding of the processes driving evolution. With very few exceptions, however, genetic and genomic data can only be gained from extant taxa, which represent just the very tip of the iceberg that biodiversity through time represents. For the large majority of species that existed in the past, no sequence data is available nor will ever become available, thus leaving big parts of the tree of life in the dark – particularly those branches that completely went extinct. In addition, the nature of sequence evolution, with variable substitution rates even in closely related organisms, makes it hard to obtain a reliable dating of the events that led to modern day biodiversity from sequence data alone.

Fortunately, many organism groups, including ones that had delicate skeletons or none at all, exhibit a surprisingly good fossil record, especially when disarticulated and/or microscopic remains are considered. Bulk samples of fossil sediments and museum collections are treasure troves for the study of past biodiversity, just waiting to be fully exploited. Advances in imaging technologies, like µCT scanning, have made it much easier to reveal internal structures of rare fossils, as well as the detailed morphology of the skeletal parts of modern organisms. Using comparative morphological approaches, the first occurrence of many clades can be assessed, providing calibration points for molecular clock analyses and thus refining the dimension of time in phylogenetic and phylogenomic analyses. In addition, mapping of morphological characters in the phylogenetic trees allows inclusion of the extinct taxa, tracing of character evolution and development integrated classifications that are based on both living and fossil representatives of a clade.



Wednesday, August 16th. Afternoon session.



Invited talks:




13.30 – 14.05

Ben Thuy1:
Stars of evolution – how an integrative approach to ophiuroid systematics unlocks a global fossil record.

1 Natural History Museum Luxembourg, Department of Palaeontology, Luxembourg



14.05 – 14.10
Sabine Stöhr & Omri Bronstein
Special Announcement



14.10 – 14.30
Tamara Spasojevic1,2
and Seraina Klopfstein1,2:

Identifying Eocene ichneumonid wasps: how confident are we in the taxonomic placement of fossils?

1 Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern, Bernastrasse 15, 3005 Bern, Switzerland

2 University of Bern, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Baltzerstrasse 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland



14.30 – 14.50

Sonja Wedmann1:
How Eocene insects can contribute to understanding insect evolution

1 Senckenberg Forschungsstation Grube Messel, Messel, Germany´,



14.50 – 15.00



15.00 – 15.30




15.30 – 16.00

Bronstein O.1,2, Kroh A.1 & Haring L.2:
Integrating fossils and molecules to resolve complex evolutionary genetic puzzles

1 Natural History Museum Vienna, Geological-Paleontological Department, Vienna, Austria;

2Natural History Museum Vienna, Central Research Laboratories, Vienna, Austria.




16.00 – 16.20

Tim Sosa:

Expanded taxon sampling and fossil calibrations reveal early and repeated colonization of North America by South American freshwater fishes.




16.20 – 16.50

Alexander Martynov1, Tatiana Korshunova1, 2:

Integrated model of the sedentary-pelagic last common bilaterian ancestor: developmental, molecular and paleontological perspectives.

1Zoological Museum, Moscow State University, Bolshaya Nikitskaya Str 6, 125009 Moscow, Russia. E-mail:; 2Koltzov Institute of Developmental Biology RAS, 26 Vavilova Str., 119334 Moscow, Russia. E-mail:



16.50 – 17.00





Daniele Silvestro1,2,3,6, Alexander Zizka1,6, Christine D Bacon1,6, Borja Cascales-Miñana4, Nicolas Salamin2,3 & Alexandre Antonelli1,5,6:

Fossil biogeography: a new model to infer dispersal, extinction and sampling (DES) from palaeontological data.

1Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Carl Skottsbergs gata 22B, Gothenburg 413 19, Sweden; 2Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland; 3Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Quartier Sorge, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland; 4Department of Geology, University of Liege, 4000 Sart Tilman, Liege, Belgium; 5Gothenburg Botanical Garden, Carl Skottsbergs gata 22A, Gothenburg 413 19, Sweden; 6Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, Box 461, SE-40530 Göteborg, Sweden



Bronstein O.1,2,3, Haring E.3, & Kroh A.2:

Do genes lie? Evidence from the Red Sea urchin.

1The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel-Aviv, Israel, e-mail:;

2Geological-Paleontological Dept., Natural History Museum Vienna, Vienna, Austria;

3Central Research Laboratories, Natural History Museum Vienna, Vienna, Austria


Conference Centre Wallenberg, Medicinaregatan 20a, Göteborg